Iain Crichton Smith
Features to Revise:
• Key incident(s)
• Climax / turning point
• Narrative Technique
• The narrator – feels uncomfortable (ill-fitting
• The groom – confident / stylish.
• The bride – ‘somnambulant’, ‘fixed smile’ ‘didn’t
• The Father – uncomfortable.
• The Mother – shy / nervous.
• Highland girls at the wedding (outfits / ‘looked at
ease’ and ‘fresh and gay’).
• Reference to ‘Cortina’
• City setting with references made to islands as
• Staid atmosphere in the church v. sunshine
• References to traditions of ‘home’ (the
• ‘...an exercise in pre-marital warfare, a primitive
pre-marital battle.’ WORD CHOICE
• Description of the bride as being
• Father ‘twisting his neck...chafed by his collar’.
IMAGERY / DESCRIPTION
• ‘Large reddish hands stuck out of his white cuffs’
• Gaelic telegrams made wedding ‘more authentic
and false’ PARADOX
• ‘Sharp-witted, city-bred waitresses’
• ‘Imprisoning collar’ METAPHOR
• Use of CONTRAST (then and now / here and there) in
• ‘a murmur of conversation which rose in volume as if
to drown the memory of the speech’ SIMILE
• Comparing the bride’s dress to a shroud SIMILE
• ‘He’s never ploughed any ground, I think’ METAPHOR
• Reference to how the father ‘blossomed’ METAPHOR
• Father was more at home than the audience at end of
• The wedding ceremony (division in the church
/ the lack of enthusiasm for the service).
• The Father of the Bride’s speech and the
atmosphere which follows.
• The boy singing the Gaelic song, but not
knowing all of the words.
• The father sings and the young audience
applaud him and urge him to continue.
Climax / turning point
When the father sings his song and the
audience are enthralled, with the result that
‘he seemed to be wholly at home and more so
than his audience were’.
• Narrator is guest at a wedding in the city.
• The bride is from an island, her groom from a
• The bride’s parents feel uncomfortable and
none of the young people appreciate hearing
about the past / the islands.
• At the end, the father sings a Gaelic song and
captures everyone’s attention.
• The father feels at ease at the end of the story.
• Story is told chronologically in first person.
• Sets the scene / wedding
– RISING ACTION / CONFLICT
• The division between the bride’s family and the
groom’s / island and city
• The bride’s father makes his speech
– FALLING ACTION
• Awkward atmosphere follows
• Bride’s father singing in Gaelic unites everyone.
Islanders feel at home / city folk appreciate islanders.
• First person narrator.
• Events seen through his eyes – he is an
outsider (links to theme / setting).
• Narrator is not emotionally engaged – reliable
The loss of island / Gaelic culture / identity
and why it needs to be preserved.
• Stuffiness of church (minister ‘savouring the sun’).
• Relaxed atmosphere in city compared to islands
(minister not wearing a gown).
• Fashionable stylish city dwellers v. old-fashioned
• Wedding has to be endured (‘inaudible’, ‘murmured
something’, ‘interminably’ the little boy with the
horseshoe about to cry). Narrator’s lack of emotional
• Would be different if it was a Highland wedding,
according to narrator.
• Bride’s silence – loss of a language / cultural identity.
No Gaelic heard outside the church. Father having to
shout over the music.
• Expensive hotel – materialistic / flashy city life.
• Dialogue at the bar – multi-cultural city.
• Reference to girl having a baby and thinking about
returning to the islands. Good place to grow up / bring up
family. Other young people disparaging about islands.
• Reference to American adopting island culture.
• Awkward, unappreciative response from the young to the
father’s references to old cultures.
• To the father, the city folk seem like primitive barbarians
‘like Africans’ (this would seem racist if he wasn’t so naive).
• When reminded of it, young people appreciate their
• City folk appreciate learning about the island’s culture too.
• Of characters (their appearance / speech /
actions and reactions / thoughts and feelings)
• Of setting (time and place / atmosphere)
• Of theme (imagery / symbolism used to
describe the theme / problem of declining
language / loss of identity)